Ever since I returned home to the Lone Star State, I’ve made certain that one of the activism events I attend is the Texas Transgender Nondiscrimination Summit.
This year’s event is being hosted by the wonderful folks at UH-Clear Lake’s Intercultural and International Student Services and Women and LGBT Services. It’s the first time since 1979 that I’d been on their picturesque campus..
There was a traveling exhibit of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party that year and the Houston stop for that tour was on the UH-CL campus. My high school Vanguard English class got the opportunity to do a field trip to see it. I also looked a little different the last time I was on this campus as well.
But back to compiling the TTNS Day One report.
I told a few friends about this event and one of them was Antrece Baggett, my homegirl who also happens to be the Africana and Women and Gender Studies director at HCC-Southeast.
She decided to join me for the fun this year and after we arrived at the Bayou Building, greeted a few people including some of her HCC colleagues, picked up our info packets and partook of our continental breakfast before we got started in the Garden Room a little after 9 AM with Josephine Tittsworth introduced Dr Darlene Biggers, who welcomed us to the UH-Clear Lake campus.
After Dr Biggers speech, Josephine gave an overview of the progress that has been made since the first TTNS occurred in 2009. She pointed out the three large Texas school districts (HISD, DISD and FWISD) , increasing numbers of colleges and universities in the Lone Star State and around the country that have added ‘gender identity’ or ‘expression’ language in their non-discrimination policies or non-discrimination statements, with examples of them in our registration packet.
Lorraine Schroeder of the UH LGBT Center got a chance to update us on additional progress that was happening at my alma mater policy wise beyond the Izza Lopez Letter, and we also discussed the recent positive news that happened at Texas A&M.
Josephine also relayed some news from Rafael McDonnell (who couldn’t make it this year) about an interesting development in the Tarrant County College District. They had been resistant in adding that gender identity and expression language in their non-discrimination policy,. As you probably guessed TransGriot readers, some transphobic discrimination happened on that campus to a former employee, the TCCD was sued, ended up embroiled in a discrimination lawsuit they lost and cost them and the Tarrant County taxpayers $160,000 to fight that losing legal battle..
Josephine yielded the mic to our TTNS MC Jenifer Rene Pool and after some housekeeping duty, brought Julie Smith front and center to lead us in an icebreaker exercise for a few minutes that called for us to move around The Garden Room tables from the people we knew and take ten minutes trying to find common threads between you and the new peeps you sat down with. We all got good laughs out of that exercise before the floor was yielded to Jenifer.
She introduced our keynote speaker Dr. Jean Latting, the author of the book ‘Reframing Change’ Ironically in one of those small world moments, Dr. Latting had sent m an e-mail yesterday asking for permission to use a TransGriot blog post.
Yep, she loves my blog.
During her speech, she discussed how we get to the point of creating the conditions on college and university campuses for advancing inclusionary policies. She discussed it in terms of the ‘jaguar vs educator’ advocacy models, with a jaguar representing pounce and destroy emotional mode.
She pointed out in the university and collegiate setting, if we want long term systemic change, it was going to have to be more of of the educator mode that would carry the human rights day.
We broke for lunch (yep, they feed us people) before heading into the first of our concurrent sessions at 1:20 PM. TTNS participants had the choice of Transgender Legal Issues, presented by Sal Benavidez and Tracy Jackson of Frye, Steidley, Oaks and Benavidez or UH-CL’s Safe Zone Ally Program Ethics, Successes and Limitations presented by IISS’s Julie Smith.
I went for the legal presentation while Antrece attended the UH-CL Safe Zone.
The legal presentation had Benavidez handling the first half of it, and he discussed the 6 essential legal documents that everyone should have
2. Statutory Durably Power of Attorney
3. Medical Power of Attorney
4. Directive to Physicians, Family or Surrogates
5. Declaration of Guardian
6. Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains
He pointed out why they were important for LGBT people to have these documents, and if you’re single, not only do you need those documents as well, make sure they are updated and leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative who you have discussed this with.
Ms. Jackson discussed employment and labor law, and focused on Title IX, Section 1893 of the Equal Protection Act, the EEOC trans ruling and how they impacted the community.
That hour ended much too soon, and after our snack and chocolate break it was time for Concurrent Session 2 with three seminars to hoose from in this 2:40-3:40 PM block
There was Transgender Legal Issues with Judge Phyllis Frye, Josephine’s Understanding Ethical Engagement Strategies, and Intersex 101 by Kimberly Jorgenson
Antrece and I both attended the Intersex 101 seminar and we weren’t disappointed because it was an hour packed with information. It covered the history of the intersex moment, pointed out there are a variety of conditions that fall under the intersex label that in many cases aren’t discovered until later in life
It was one of those seminars we needed more than a hour for and it still wouldn’t have been enough time to cover it.
We returned to the Garden Room to wrap up TTNS Day 1 with the Closing Remarks in which TTNS attendees get to make announcements and ask questions about the TTNS past, present and future. One question that came up was about why the move of the 2011 TTNS from the Texas A&M campus back to UH which she and another TTNS board member addressed.
We called it a day on the UH-CL campus and headed back to Houston for the BBQ at the the TG Center. Antrece had other commitments, so she dropped me off at my undisclosed location before I headed back to the Center with the Netroots Nation memorabilia from the June panel discussion.
I’d promised Cristan I’d donate that Netroots Nation panel stuff to our history archive and we’d been missing each other with our hectic schedules Killed a few hours at the TG Center before I headed back home to compile this post so you’d have the record of TTNS Day One to peruse.
And yes Lowell Kane, you are missed.
Time for me to get some sleep because 9 AM will be here before I know it.